Methodius Buslaev. The Midnight Wizard - Емец Дмитрий Александрович - Страница 1


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Dmitrii Emets

Methodius Buslaev. The Midnight Wizard

Prologue

Tibidox. Office of Sardanapal.

Three years after the birth of Tanya Grotter and seven years before her appearance on Buyan Island.

A fire was blazing in the fireplace of Sardanapal Chernomorov, the head of Tibidox. The pithecanthropus Tararakh was sitting by the fireplace and roasting shashlik threaded on a sword. The meat was sizzling tastily and intermittently shooting drops of fat. “Of course, it’s not bad mutton, but no comparison to mammoth nonetheless, some tears!” Tararakh grumbled. “And what am I roasting with? Seven magicians in the school, all smart – horror, one is even an academician – and you’d think at least someone could find the time to conjure up a normal skewer. Thankfully, Two hundred years ago I took away Marshal Davout’s sword. A good sword – just right for twelve pieces.”

Tararakh did not exaggerate. In the office of the academician were actually all seven Tibidox instructors – Sardanapal himself, the Great Tooth, Yagge, Slander, Medusa, Nightingale O. Robber and Professor Stinktopp. Moreover, they were in a situation, which could not be called pleasant in any way.

Sardanapal’s moustaches intermittently trembled hopelessly. A gold clip firmly kept their rebellious tips at the back of his head. This was a sure sign that the head of the Tibidox School was disposed to a serious manner. “I have two pieces of news: poor and abysmal. Which one should I begin with?” the academician asked.

“Sardanapal, take pity on an old woman. Begin with the poor. I’m finishing knitting a cap for Yagunchik. If I make a mistake now, I’ll have to take apart a lot,” Yagge remarked carefully, raising her eyes from the knitting needles.

“No-no, don’t be over-modest! Don’t age the old folks, they’re younger than fine young folks! Has she forgotten how to charm knitting needles so that they knit by themselves?” the Great Tooth smiled.

“My Yagunchik doesn’t like conjured caps. He said that his ears cannot find room in them,” objected Yagge. Little Yagun, lively like mercury, was the pet of Granny and a big problem for the rest of Tibidox. He could not stay in one place at all. They had removed him several times from the vacuum half way to Bald Mountain, and once they found him by the Sinister Gates, which he was trying to open with a nail, using it like a master key. A minor detail prevented him: the nail turned out to be a centimetre short. “Yes, Yagunchik’s ears are rare. I won’t be surprised if the boy plays dragonball well. They’ll allow him to decrease flying speed rather well, gradually and smoothly, and make sharp turns,” nodded Nightingale O. Robber.

Sardanapal reproachfully gave a cough. “This morning I finished some calculations. In three days, at 5 p.m., there will be a total solar eclipse. It will last seven-and-a-half minutes – the maximum astronomically possible duration for solar eclipse. Here, on Buyan, we will see nothing. But then Moscow will find itself to be completely in the dark shadow. From one outlying district to another. For seven-and-a-half minutes the city will be submerged in darkness…”

Tararakh licked the fat off a finger and examined the meat. “In my life I’ve seen a number of eclipses. And never anything… Except somehow during Palaeolithic times a brisk young fellow from a neighbouring tribe took advantage of the panic and robbed me of an outstanding rock axe.”

“Tararakh, the eclipse, which I’m talking about, is not ordinary. Even The Ancient One warned about it. And The Ancient One was not inclined to senseless panic,” said Sardanapal.

“As far as I understand, the eclipse – it’s also the promised bad news. And now I’m beginning to get a bad feel!” Medusa said.

“Really. He will be named Methodius Buslaev. He will appear on Earth two minutes after the sun is hidden. The Ancient One was convinced that the boy will have the gift.”

“Many babies will knock on the door of the world in those seven-and-a-half minutes. It’s possible someone else will have the gift,” Medusa objected reasonably.

“No, Medi. I’m convinced that precisely he will have the gift. There are too many coincidences. The arrangement of the stars, place, and time of birth, the eclipse, and, most importantly, the blood. Among the boy’s kin were numerous magicians. In the Middle Ages they burned one of his great-great-great… at the stake. With a look she inflicted the plague on her neighbours and did this more often than normal courtesy required.”

“And is there any hope that Methodius Buslaev will not become aware of his gift?” Medusa carefully asked.

“Hope is eternal. However, in the given situation it has passed away even before the appearance of the boy in the world,” the academician joked darkly. Sardanapal got up and, not looking at anyone, began to walk around the office. “White magicians? Wonderful! Black magicians? Remarkable! But we have forgotten those, whose power exceeds our sorcery and incantations many times! Those more ancient than the Egyptian pyramids! The guards of Gloom! The guards of Light! Here are the ones who need his gift!” he said with conviction.

“But Sardanapal! You are probably exaggerating. It’s possible the guards of gloom and darkness know nothing about Methodius Buslaev,” the Great Tooth carefully said.

Slander Slanderych and Professor Stinktopp exchanged ironic glances. “Zey know eferyzing about ze boy, if his gift is vorz at least one kopeck!” Stinktopp muttered.

The clip came off Sardanapal’s moustaches, and they began to jump, conducting an invisible orchestra. “Yes, Professor, yes and again yes! In the last centuries, we were all criminally negligent! Magic books, incantations, dragonball, fights with ancient idols not wanting to calm down – it has become our world. But this…” here the academician lowered his voice to a whisper, “why deceive ourselves? On the day when the boy is born, the accursed spring again will begin to turn, so that in thirteen years… I don’t even want to think about this.”

“The guards of Gloom…” Medusa said thoughtfully. “Only imagine that there was a time when I didn’t see the difference between magicians and guards. But later I understood. Magicians – white or black – do not depend on moronoids. Their world exists separately from ours. We don’t interfere in its history and only strive to keep moronoids from finding out about us. The guards of Gloom are a totally different matter. They need the moronoids… Their thoughts, their feelings, especially their eide…”

Slander looked at her sombrely, “Exactly, Medusa! There is a monstrous difference between simple magicians, such as us, and the guards of Gloom… Like between chickens and turkeys. Some fly, and others… others fly…”

“It’s because we, even the darks like Stinktopp and Deni, are not injected with the power of eide,” said Docent Gorgonova.

“If we put aside morals, the renunciation of the use of eide has its minuses. The gift of each magician – white or dark – is assigned primordially. It’s possible to learn to manage it, to learn several hundred incantations, but the gift itself will not become bigger with the years, just slightly more polished. Take at least our students. Among them are strong magicians, but also such, who only know how to force a stool to grow buds and to bloom. And we are also forced to take them!” Yagge beat around the bush.

“But a ring? An artefact? Really, don’t they intensify the gift?” Tararakh naively asked.

Nightingale O. Robber began to laugh, “They strengthen. But only until you master them. An artefact is like a club for a pithecanthropus. Does it make him stronger?”

“You bet! Indeed, I know! Especially if a good one appears. Entirely smooth, even, and with a bulge at the end. With a twig or something there also,” Tararakh assured him. Nostalgia clouded his eyes. “In my opinion, if you strike a sharp blow with the club, it won’t seem like anything. But what’s with eide here? What is it in general?”